The family, dad, mum and Jack aged three years, had come to stay in Rye and we always go to Rye Harbour. Much to Jack’s disgust – he was playing with all his father’s old toys- we decided fresh air and exercise were required.
We loaded us all into my Mini and Jack was very reluctantly persuaded into his car seat, which had just taken his father – and a lot of bad language – 45 minutes to fit properly.
Anyway, off we set, the omens not being very good. Jack is what you expect from a three year old, knows his own mind, is quite sure he is right instead of those pesky adults and is not afraid to tell the world! He is also loving and delightful at the same time.
Eventually persuaded to vacate his car seat, I left them all to it, and walked off to the Discovery Centre, our goal for the morning. Noticing no small person was running after me, I turned back to find a hullabaloo in the car park. Yes, Jack does know what he thinks!
I reminded Jack that he’d loved all the diggers as we had watched the Centre emerge from the ground and much cheered, we set off again. The grandeur of the marshes rather leaves him cold and the birds are at quite a distance for him, but he had enjoyed all the large machinery on the construction site.
The Centre looked beautiful in the morning sun and mist, the wood had already mellowed to a soft grey since it was first constructed. and the light shone through the glass windows. Much to Jack’s delight, thank goodness he seemed to have forgotten the promised diggers, there is a long slope up to the doors, just right for running up with dad close behind. We opened the doors and found ourselves in a lovely open forum, with a café at one end and all sorts of things to do at the other.
We walked past the open area that had all kinds of books to buy and things about the sea and wild life around us, and then found ourselves next to a glass case with all sorts of fascinating things in it. Jack was particularly taken with the tiny, delicate animal skulls and, as he lives by the sea, had some knowledge of the shells and display pictures. There was also a film show, and then we found the magnetic board, marked out with bird feet. There were three or four magnets with the bird pictured and at the base, feet shapes to fit the board. I was completely useless at it, but luckily mum was great and Jack I think outdid me.
We progressed to an enormous window, but though the three adults were enchanted, Jack wasn’t quite so impressed, and so we adjourned to the café. Stools that were just his height, apple cake and water made a swift disappearance into his tummy, whilst we drank excellent coffee and had a different cake. Very tasty and made a lovely end to our trip.
I had had my doubts about the Discovery Centre, because of the size and the costs, but it fits into the landscape so well, the marshes of course have a beauty all their own. I have to say I think a visit to the Discovery Centre is well worth the time, and will even appeal to a small, much loved and opinionated three year old. To see more detail of the activities, look at the gallery.
Photos with kind permission from Discovery Centre, Katie Underwood
Image Credits: Gillian Roder .